[Ron’s] refrigerator broke shortly after he came home from his weekly grocery trip, and since this was his second dead fridge in three years, he wanted to fix it rather than buy a new one…again. It turns out that the thermostat was toast, and a replacement would cost him $80. That was well more than he was willing to pay, but his groceries were starting to get warm, so he had to do something.
Being the tinkerer he is, he figured he could rig up his own thermostat that would work at least as well as the one that died on him. He scavenged an ATmega328 from a failed project, and after digging around online, put together the most barebones Arduino setup he could find. The microcontroller is tucked away in the back of the refrigerator where the old thermostat used to live, and takes input from a TMP36 temperature sensor, triggering a relay to start the refrigerator’s compressor whenever the the temp goes above 4°C.
[Ron] says his fix is just about the “worst kludge ever”, but as he saved $80 in parts and $150 in labor, we’re inclined to think it’s a job well done.